Fast, Gentle and Easy Rare Cell Isolation

Rare cell populations are those that exist at extremely low abundance within a large population of background cells. Specific types of rare cells, such as circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and fetal cells in maternal samples, provide valuable analytical information and early detection that could ultimately replace invasive diagnostic procedures.

Due to their limited frequency, rare cells can be challenging to isolate. For example, CTC abundance is as low as one in one billion blood cells, and fetal cells can be even more rare. Traditionally, rare cells have been isolated via enrichment methods such as filtering and magnetic bead selection. However, these methods are unable to isolate pure populations of rare cells. To effectively isolate rare cells, high efficiency and sensitivity are essential.

Finding the Needles in the Haystack with Namocell's Rare Cell Enrichment

• Namocell’s two sorting modes: enrichment sorting and single cell sorting can be combined for rare cell isolation from a mixed population.

Namocell’s two patented sorting modes: enrichment sorting and single cell sorting can be combined for efficient isolation of extremely rare cells from a mixed population. High-density samples containing the rare target cells are first suspended and loaded into Namocell’s microfluidic cell cartridge. Using the enrichment sorting mode, rare cells of interest are dispensed into a single well or a single tube, producing a pool of cells enriched for the target cell population. Subsequently, the post-enrichment pool is loaded into a new cell cartridge and the target cells are dispensed using the single cell sorting mode as singlets into a 96-well or 384-well plate. The isolated rare cells can then be used in multiple downstream applications, such as genomic analysis or cell culture.

Namocell Benefits

Hana Single Cell Dispenser
Gentle Single Cell Sorting


Gentle sorting (< 2 psi) preserves cell viability and integrity

Rapid single cell isolation


- Process up to 3 million cells/min
- Work with sample density of up to 150 million cells/mL

Efficient cell culture isolation


High recovery of rare cells, no sample loss

Isolate Single Cells Easily


- Sterile sorting, no contamination
- Easy setup in under 3 min
- Simple operation, zero maintenance

Dispensing Efficiency

Namocell Single Cell Dispensers are highly efficient and consistent at dispensing single cells. With dispensing efficiency (percentage of dispensed wells with single cells) of 80-90% for CHO cells compared to ~30% using manual pipetting.

CHO cell dispensing using Namocell compared to manual pipetting for cho cell line development

Isolating Rare Cells

Analysis of rare circulating tumor cells isolated using Namocell’s Hana Single Cell Dispenser

The HanaTM Single Cell Dispenser was used to isolate EpCAM+ cancer cells spiked into a background of white blood cells at a frequency of 1 in 10,000. Following single cell isolation, analysis of CNV (copy number variation) across the genome confirmed cancer-characteristic CNV profile from the isolated EpCAM+ cells (top panel), as compared with the background cells (bottom panel). As an internal control, the spiked-in cancer cells were female (XX) whereas the background cells were male (XY), as evidenced by the copy number of X and Y chromosomes in the respective CNV data.

Rare Cell Isolation Resources

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